1sr May: a shout out to the workers who are back at work and those who wish they were. The day dawns with a clear golden sky which gradually fills with red-grey clouds. I know this because at 6am my cat, Po, bangs on the front door to be let in. I've set her cat-flap so that she can get out but not back in because I didn't want her offerings of mice, dead or alive. The dead ones, laid out in the middle of the living-room carpet, could easily be swept up into a dust pan and put in the compost bin, but the live ones ran off to set up home under the stove or behind the fridge and put me to the trouble and bad karma of poisoning them.
So, I let Po in, glance at the golden sky and when she looks pointedly at her empty bowl I tell her, 'Not a chance. I don't feed you this early,' and go back to bed. She goes straight back out and starts a caterwauling fight under my window. A little black and white cat, like a younger Po, has been hanging around trying to be friendly but Po is implacable about her territory. At 6.45 she bumps the door again and that's when I see the sky has reddened.
From breakfast time the day brightens and by the time my friend has done her shopping and come round it's warm and sunny enough to sit outside, our customary two metres between us. I have some questions about what I'm knitting and she can advise. Mostly it's going well so I'm happy to carry on. We share family news but I refrain from passing her my phone to show the latest pictures of my grandchildren. That can wait till later.
After lunch I walk down to the cafe I spotted yesterday and order coffee and a muffin. They have cleverly set up one table in the doorway and another to one side, so I can look at the cake cabinet, choose and pay while the cafe owner steps back a little. When she brings my order she calls my name, puts it on the second table and again steps back while I collect it. I take my treats to a sunny seat by the water and savour them, watching two kayakers glide slowly across to Haulashore Island. The muffin is huge, packed with juicy blueberries and the coffee is creamy and delicious – a small taste of freedom.
Later in the afternoon, when the sun has gone from my house but is still shining behind the hill, I bike down to the beach and along the boardwalk. While there are fewer people and a lot more vehicles on the road, down here there seem to be more people than before, mostly observing the distancing rules, walking dogs and children on the field and the back beach and having family bike rides on the paths. I pause at a little bridge while a family of five crosses, two small boys running ahead and a mother one-handedly pushing a toddler in a buggy while carrying a baby. She apologises for holding me up and I shake my head, not at all. I have all the time in the world and she literally has her hands full.
My sister-in-law calls and I talk with her and my brother. They've expanded their bubble to include their son, his partner and their seven month grandson. It's been six weeks since they saw the little one and at first he cried but he got used to them again quickly. They're amazed at how he has grown in the time they've been apart and how many new things he can do. It's great to catch up with them and to think that there's light at the end of the tunnel - I will see my grandchildren again before too much longer.